injury

The Chronicles of the Bum Butt

I’ve waited while to write a post about how my bum butt is doing.  I said that if my butt was not feeling better after my honeymoon I was going to get an X-ray and MRI.  In cliff notes version: my bum butt is not an issue right now.

Anyways how did I get to this point?

Demonstrating that my butt hurts

Demonstrating that my butt hurts

To be honest my butt (known as the #bumbutt) has been one of the most frustrating injuries.  While this is a running blog, so much has taken place post marathon that I haven’t spent an extended amount of time whining and complaining.  For better or for worse, the whining has been minimized.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been frustrated with my injury, it just means I haven’t been internet whining.

Now that I’m married and settled in, the whining and nagging can begin! 

Long story short, my bum is finally starting to get better.  This is a combination of many factors but a big one is going to see Dr. Kemenosh and his team (and no I’m not being paid to say that).

I’ve had 7 appointments now (the last being right before the honeymoon).  The first 4-5 times my butt wasn’t seeing much improvement.   I completely tore my body apart running the Phoenix marathonI did damage that I needed a lot of time off for…that makes complete sense and anyone who saw me after about mile 18 can realize that.  I was so amped on endorphins I did not realize the damage I was doing.

Except I don't really look happy

Except I don’t really look happy

Was it the smartest to finish the marathon?  Maybe not but I don’t regret it…

Post marathon, it was hard to get into the mindset that “this isn’t a quick fix”.  Healing was going to take time versus one visit and I’ll be 100%.

Things I’ve been doing to promote healing:

  • I have kept a journal since beginning my recovery in March. I have recorded how my run felt and when I felt pain (if I did).
  • I’ve stepped almost completely off of dailymile. It’s not that I don’t enjoy dailymile but I didn’t need more advice and I didn’t have the time to keep up with it.
  • I’ve been strengthening my hips, glutes and everything along the legs.
  • I’ve alternated shoes between the Asics Nimbus and Saucony Triumph. Both are similar high cushioned neutral shoes but I have found the Saucony triumph don’t irritate my foot and cause blisters.  Eventually I would like to run most (if not all) miles in the Triumph but I’ve been hesitant due to sticking to what works.  The fact is the Asics numbus 16 worked for me but I’m not 100% convinced the 17s do.  I’ve had a nasty blister on top of my foot (and yes I wear proper socks…).
  • I’m going to  specialists (Dr. Kemenosh and team) to get my muscles loosened up. This is the most important aspect of recovery and I would not be as recovered as I am without doing this.  They are able to pin point exact trigger points that need to be released so the muscle releases.

Noticeable differences:

After my marathon I had a lot of pain everywhere on my left leg.  I had pain in the glutes, the piriformis, adductor muscle (it was painful to turn corners).  Anywhere from my butt to half way down my quad had pain at some point.

Basically everywhere here

Basically everywhere here

 

Slowly respected muscle groups became less obnoxious and painful.  The first to deflame was my adductor muscle.  Within a few visits and realignments to my first chiropractor, that felt better.  I was able to walk normally.

Next my piriformis began slowly deflaming.  Beginning in mid March, my piriformis became less inflamed.  The only part that bothered me was a small attachment in my glute meade.  The pain was no bigger than the diameter of a pen but somehow was able to control my entire butt.

Running the Shamrock half marathon was probably not one of my better ideas either but it is one of my favorite races.  I don’t have regrets running that race either.  After Shamrock, I decided to get my act together.  I had given myself 3 weeks of recovery and I knew this was something more serious than “second marathon blunders”.  Although I knew I had done damage when I finished the marathon and had pain.  I probably extended my recovery by running Shamrock but oh well.

But so fun!

But so fun!

Cliff notes:

I am slowly getting better (emphasis on slowly).  I know that going to a professional has expedited this process and I would not be anywhere close to where I am now without them.  I am honestly about 95% better at this point.  In a world that we want nothing but quick fixes, injuries that take time are the most frustrating.

I have another post later but long story short I don’t enjoy marathons.  I’ve run two full marathons and neither have been enjoyable.  I am going to stick with shorter distances for a while.  I have lots of shorter summer races in the plan this year and I’m hoping to stay injury free to do them all.

What an extremely lengthy post about my butt.  Luckily mine is almost healed and it’s time to move forward.

Marching to the Beat of My Own Drum

Is March already over?

I always dread writing training month recaps when I’m injured or had a rough training month.  Who likes reading about the #bumbutt.  It’s important to be  honest and consistent so I keep writing recap posts.  Anyways…March taught me a lot.

Since Phoenix marathon was February 28th, that obviously effected my entire month of March.

Phoenix Marathon

After NYCM 20 months ago, I wondered how people recovered from a marathon so quickly.

After Phoenix in February, I still wonder how people recover so quickly.  Marathon maniacs are really maniacs…I have come to the conclusion I will be a 1 maybe 2 (per year) marathon person.  That distance is humbling and the recovery…is more humbling.

Some people recover from marathons well…I’m not one of those people.

Total miles: 122

Average pace: 6:41-mostly untimed

Races: Shamrock Half marathon  (1:33.06)

shamrock 3

Best Training Run:

Quite honestly, none of my training runs have been that stellar.  With my nagging #bumbutt, nothing feels like I could run for miles.  That is how it goes though…my runs later in the month have been better than the first few.  Hopefully April brings complete injury free miles.

Thoughts:

The month of March has been strictly recovery and figuring out my butt pain.  While I haven’t 100% figured out everything I think I’m getting close.  It’s also been a frustrating month…not every month can be great.  Since I ran about half the miles as I normally have, this recap is about half the length.  As I said on Monday, I’m going to make be taking most of April for wedding related things and a honeymoon.  Training can wait…

Next Month:

I’m getting married and going on a honeymoon.  I will still run and actively try to figure out my butt but it will not be a priority.  Honesty is the best policy right?

Questions for you:

How was your month of March? 

Does anyone have a big race in April?

I know here in NJ, the Long Branch half marathon is at the end of the month.  One of my favorite races, the Atlantic City half marathon, is next weekend too.

Where am I running to?

I’ve been talking about my injury and marathon recovery for the last four weeks…I guess I should I consolidate my thoughts and figure out what I’m doing with my running.  I don’t know where I want to take my running in the next month or even the rest of 2015.

Phoenix Marathon

It’s not a secret I’m getting married in a couple of weeks.  While I’m not stressed about it, I’m not planning to “train” for anything before then.  A two week training cycle makes no sense and I’m not going to stick to any set routine or plan before the wedding.  Why on Earth would I rush to train for a race before (or even just after) the wedding?  Plus duh, I’m still working on that small injury.

After the wedding I’ll be going on a honeymoon.  I won’t really be training for anything then either.  I won’t be training, blogging or doing a whole heck of a lot.  Yes I will still run and workout…but will it count?  Anything without internet proof never happened…

In reality, if I’m healthy I won’t begin any plan or routine until early May.  I don’t have an exact plan, routine or schedule since I have a lot going on in the next month,  There is a lot of uncertainty before May.  Will I be healthy?   I would like to think I’ll be healthy before the wedding but that would be a wedding miracle.

So hypothetically after getting back from my honeymoon, I would like to begin running shorter distances in May, June and July.  I haven’t run many 5ks for the last two years.  I had planned to run more last year but after a slight case of plantar fasciitis last summer,  I wasn’t running at all.

I would love to win another piece of log to decorate my house with.  That was my fastest 5k of the year...

I would love to win another piece of log to decorate my house with. That was my fastest 5k of the year…

I’ve been thinking a lot about my training lately.  What I’m doing is no longer working.  I’ve been been on/off injured the last year.

Is that from being inconsistent?

Is it from running high mileage and it wearing on my body? 

Is it from poor recovery or burning the candle on both ends with wedding planning, life, work and running? 

Is it from focusing on longer races versus shorter races?

I’ve always said races are my “speed work” but lately I haven’t been doing a lot of road races.  I went from running 2-3 each month in 2013, to running 1-2 longer races each month.  That is a drastic change.  I’m not sticking to the very core of my original training.

I guess I can say this about my training:

My major goal is to get healthy.  I’m not going to train for anything until I’m 100% healthy.  I would like to focus on shorter distances this summer and improve my turnover.  Perhaps next fall I’ll work on training for a half or even another full marathon.   The cliff notes version is:

1. Get married and get healthy (injury free).

2. Train for shorter races for a few months

3. Run longer races next fall

Questions for you:

How many races do you do each month?

What are your training plans for the spring and summer? 

 

A Pain in the Butt Week 3

I’ve always said muscle injuries were frustrating.  You know with broken bones you must wait a few months and they heal.  Muscles could take days, weeks, months or years to heal…you can still run through them but it doesn’t feel like rainbow and butterflies.

That’s where I’m at right now.

The evolution of the butt pain went something like this:

First it was half limping through adductor muscle, hip, hamstring, butt and IT band.

Then it went walking normally with residual pain in my adductor (which faded away) but my pain in the hip, and butt were still there. 

Then it was committing to going to a professional who knows what they were doing and working with them.  

My pain is now mostly in the gluteus medius, TFL, piriformis and SI joint. 

Now there is one pinpoint of sharp pain right in SI joint.  With all the work being done everywhere else, my muscles are constantly being forced elsewhere. The pain has been traveling which is a good sign (I guess…because it’s not a stress fracture).  Getting multiple ART sessions is beginning to loosen them up. We are currently working to loosen everything up and go from there.

All of the professionals I’ve been too believe that rest isn’t going to make it better or worse.  The problem lies in the muscles and once the muscles are “fixed”, the issue will be fixed.  So I’ve been running a little bit off and on.  I have to say I do feel better than 2 weeks ago…whether that is from marathon recovery or injury recovery, I am not convinced.

As I mentioned, since last week I’ve decided to go to a very knowledgeable sports doctor in South Jersey.  The team works exclusively with runners and triathletes.  So far the team has done nothing but great work.   I’ve seen two of their staff so far and have another appointment tomorrow.  They have informed me they will be able to get a good gauge of my issues by four sessions.  If I need to be referred to somewhere where I can get an MRI then that will be the next step.  So I am giving them the benefit of the doubt and going at least 4 times.  I cannot imagine it’s anything bone related because I am able to run without a change in gait.

Monday: OFF (recovery from Shamrock)
Tuesday: 6.5 miles easy
Wednesday: 7.13 miles easy
Thursday: Cross training AMT
Friday: 6.5 miles treadmill
Saturday:  8 miles
Sunday:  6.5
Total:  34.5

Nothing hurt any worse or better while running so I kept with that mileage.

In summary:

  • I’m stretching, doing PT and trying to get my butt to feel better.  The pain has migrated and currently seems to centralize in my SI joint.
  • I’m going to see a professional to get help.
  • I’m still running and the pain doesn’t feel worse when I run (but is still there).

This post is kind of all over the place but long story short I think what I’m doing is beginning to work.  Any injury is frustrating but I still think muscle injuries are the most.

Questions for you:

Have you ever received ART?

What was your best workout of the week? 

More Recovery Update 3

It has been another week of recovering and running…

To update you I believe I’m slowly getting better from my issues.  This is from a number of factors including aggressively going to a chiropractor, stretching and getting deep tissues massages on my leg.  I’m not going to sit and let my muscles fester with injury.

I’ve been told “just resting” is not going to solely allow me to recover…so I’m not going to “just rest”.  I’m going to actively try and solve the problem. (ETA: I wasn’t told by someone I’m actually getting work done with, so I know they weren’t telling me to overdo deep tissue massages and chiro sessions to pay more…)

If you live in South Jersey and need a chiropractor or deep tissue masseuse, don’t hesitate to send me an email.  I can give you the information of the people I’ve been seeing.  Both are great and without them I would still be hobbling around.

A few updates since last week:

  • I think the slope road has been irritating my hip. I stopped running in that location.
  • I also think my running shoes wore quicker than normal. Both have been replaced and I’m currently running in the Saucony triumphs and the Asics Nimbus 17.  Both I like and both I’ll have reviews on when I have at least 100 miles of running in them.
  • My injury has left my adductor muscle and hamstring. It is now very localized in my hip as well as piriformis muscle.  I feel like it’s very sore at the attachment sites
  • I’ve gone to the chiropractor once since last week. I am really hoping the reason my piriformis is so sore is because she worked a little bit on that muscle.  Only time will tell!

Where is my running headed?

I have no goal races for a while.  With my wedding coming up in 3 weeks, my energy goes towards that.  It will make me a boring running blogger to follow but there are plenty of runners training for Boston if you are in need of a fix…

I’ll still be racing and participating in road races but I’m not actively training for anything.  I am not magically better but I am taking care of underlying issues.  Muscle injuries are the worst because you never know when they will get better.

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

Have you ever gotten trigger point?  How sore were you afterwards?

A Pain in the Butt

pain in the butt

This week I’ve seen much better improvements with my butt, hips, hamstring and everything else but instead of listing every muscle group I’ll just refer to my leg.  Instead of being stubborn I went to get some to look at it.  It turns, it was nothing that I had originally thought.  While I’m not better, I do have a formal answer.  I used fancy paint and filled in (yellow and blue) the parts of this diagram that are the problems.  (I drew in the blue for the piriformis muscle since it was wasn’t there).

hollie injured chart

In Cliff notes: My piraformis had a few adhesions which caused my adductor muscles to become strained.  Along with that my psoas muscle was extremely tight.  The chiropractor said she hadn’t seen one that tight ever.  (I guess that explains why I couldn’t walk).  Both the psoas and the piriformis being so tight  caused my hips to be knocked out of alignment.

The Longer Version: 

The most important is that I have an answer to why I’m in pain.  I’m glad I got it looked at because I would have continued to think it was my hamstring. Most runners who strain their adductor muscle do so by going to the track and starting speed work. I didn’t do either of these things.

I do have a sneaking suspicion that I might have strained it about 4 weeks ago when I did the Feel the Love 5k.  I distinctly remember that race having a lot of turns (like a track). Since I began tapering the day after, I didn’t feel the effect as if I was running high mileage.  It had began to heal but when I ran the marathon, it obviously restrained and made it much worse (enough that it was hurt when I finished).  There is nothing I can do about it now but hopefully promote healing.

The next issue is my psoas muscle. The psoas muscle is tight and knotted.  This is where the root of my problems stem with my hip.  Someone told me that you don’t know you have a psoas muscle until it begins to hurt.  I think this is 100% true and it took me from running normally to wishing I could lay down. The muscle is so deep the only way to address the tightness is through ART, trigger point or dry needling. It appears as if this has been tight for a while now.  That could be from improper stretching of the hip flexors and psoas. During the marathon I pushed through a threshold and the muscle became too tight to stabilize my pelvis which is why my hips became tight.

But wait…there’s more!

Since my psoas muscle was so tight, it pulled my hip forward. My pelvis, sacrum and hips are noticeably crooked (to the chiro…I look fine In my opinion). That’s a matter of the chiro realigning them and loosening up my psoas. If my psoas is still tight, my hips will just return to be crooked.  That was the easiest part and I feel a lot better (not 100% but noticeably better).

Finally (the injury gift that keeps giving):
My piriformis (butt muscle) has multiple adhesions which is causing everything to also tighten up.

Long story short, half of my butt, hip and upper leg muscles are tight causing my pelvis to tilt forward. It doesn’t sound like it was caused by the marathon but has been building for a long time. The marathon caused it all to manifest into an injury.

The problem with most of these issues is that they will not get better with just resting. There are a lot of tight muscles, knots and adhesions that have to be taken care of. Rest (as my chiro put it) will just allow my muscles to fester but not solve the problem. They won’t feel better until the problems are solved.

Since we talked on Tuesday I have gotten a few more things done as far as recovery goes:

  • Deep Tissue Massage (this is number 2)
  • Stretching my adductor muscles 2-3 times a day as well as foam rolling that targeted area.

How did this happen?

Honestly I don’t exactly know.   I didn’t up my mileage quickly and I stretched, foam rolled and rested when appropriate.  I think it was a combination of running the Feel the Love 5k during a high mileage week as well as running a lot of the same routes which caused me to favor my hip.  I didn’t realize it was bad (because I wasn’t in pain) until I reached a threshold of no return.

Running Plans:

I gave myself two weeks before attempting a run.  I’ve run twice now and both runs have felt decent.  I am still sore but I also haven’t run in two weeks.  I know the deep tissue massage and chiro appointments have been working because I’m beginning to feel half way decent again.  I still have quite a few knots to get worked out but I am beginning to loosen up.

All of this rambling makes my issues sound a lot more severe than they are.  I can walk normally and it’s not hindering my day to day life.  I slowly run but the thought of running fast right now does not sound pleasant.

Questions for you:

Have you ever dealt with any of these issues?

How was your weekend? 

Recovery

Ten days ago I ran Phoenix.  I told myself I would give 10-14 days before beginning to run again.  This was before I knew I would have issues with my hip and hamstring.

Phoenix marathon finish

I feel like my recovery has been going well.  I’ve also actively been working to figure out what went wrong with my hamstring and hip.  I can divide my race recovery into two categories:

  1. Rest and Recover my Injury (Right now it looks like I have a hip and hamstring injury)
  2. Normal recovery from the marathon

I have gotten a deep tissue massage and gone to a chiropractor.  Since my hamstring and hip are my primary concern, I’ll talk more about those.   So far I’ve gotten:

  • Deep Tissue Massage (and another one today)
  • Chiropractor appointment. She adjusted my hip and said it was out of line. She was able to figure out every point in my hip, butt and hamstring (as well as IT band) that hurt so I am hoping that solved most of the problem. While I don’t feel better yet, I’m hoping the muscles will start to get oxygen and feel better.
  • I’ve taken multiple Epsom salt baths as well as foam rolled, etc. (usual race recovery stuff).

Honestly so far my issues are not getting much better.  I wanted to wait 2 full weeks before going to the doctor because of the toll a marathon takes on your body.  The first thing a doctor would say is to rest and that is what I’m doing.  I have a suspicion the problem could be adhesions in the piraformis, sciatic nerve issues or misalignment in the hips.  I think my problem stems from the hips and is translated down into the hamstring.

The rest of my body:

My calves always get the tightest from running and races and this was no exception.  The deep tissue massage is reducing a lot of normal tightness. With the exception of my injury, the rest of my body is healing well. 

I’m not as sore as NYCM but that comes from an easier race course with less hills (and it was my second marathon).  My quads were extremely tight after NYCM but after Phoenix, I didn’t have that same quad tightness.

Something I wanted to make note of is that I do believe I am recovering much quicker because I don’t think I ran my true potential that day.  I believe an extra 10 seconds (due to my injury) per mile for the last few caused my muscles not to work as hard.  Combined with a net downhill race course, I believe that has caused an increase in recovery. I am still very surprised with how fast I am recovering.

For me I like to do all of the following to recover the fastest from a big race (injured or not):

  • Deep Tissue Massage within the week (always worth it to me)
  • Epsom salt bath
  • Take time off of running…my goal race is done…there is no need to jump directly back into training (this helps both mentally and physically)
  • Stretch, etc

So where does this leave me for running?

I used the term running, not training, because I’m not training for anything.  I think it’s important to take rest after big races and not immediately look for another race to dive into.  Obviously I am forced to take rest because I am injured right now regardless.

I’ve gone to the gym twice and done light cross training.  It felt fine to do that (my hamstring and hip didn’t feel any worse).   It felt nice to relax and get a little bit of sweat in.  I’ll continue to rest, relax and get to the bottom of my injury (bottom being a funny pun since occasionally my pain is in my bottom).  I don’t plan to run until my problem is solved.

Questions for you:

How do you recover after a big race (marathon or not)?

Have you ever been to a chiropractor or gotten a deep tissue massage?

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